When Someone’s Faith is Drowning (From the YALT Blog)

I’m a contributor for the blog of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT), which is a ministry of the denomination I’ve grown up in and still consider myself, though perhaps somewhat loosely, a part of. Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to have faith and to keep faith, and also the flipside of that–what it looks like when faith fades or ceases to exist altogether. How do, and should, churches and faith communities respond to that?

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Photo Credit: Stephen Di Donato

When Someone’s Faith is Drowning

It’s not a secret that young adults are leaving the church and, in many cases, leaving faith as well. Yet the numbers only show the big picture, not the stories of the individuals whose lives have, for whatever reason, changed from being one where faith is a central component to one where faith is, if existent, merely a side project. And I can’t help thinking that those stories, of faith slowly fading, or of wrestling with pain, or of doubt creeping in and taking over, don’t happen overnight. So where are the people reaching out to the real, living, breathing people who are experiencing these realities?

I once heard a story of someone being at a pier where people were jumping into the water. Suddenly, the screams of delight ceased as people began to notice a young woman struggling in the water. Shouts came from the pier, encouraging the woman to swim harder, to keep kicking, that she was getting close to the ladder. Someone dove in to help her and they both climbed out of the water to safety, but in those tense moments before that person jumped in, the noise was all directed at the woman in distress. Meanwhile, in the water itself, silence reigned.

Keep reading at the YALT Momentum blog.

Say It Again (From the YALT Blog)

I’m a monthly contributor for the blog of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT), which is a ministry of the denomination I’ve grown up in and still consider myself, though perhaps somewhat loosely, a part of. My latest post in that space is as much a reminder for me as it is a message I think others need to hear as well–and also somewhat explains why my posts have been less frequent of late.

 

Say It Again

These days, it’s fairly easy to find Christian messages. We open a browser or app, and are presented with an array of articles and blogs we can read or sermons and podcasts to listen to. They can encourage us in our faith, challenge us to pray more, and help us look at a Bible passage in a different light. Many of these messages are good, worth paying attention to and learning from.

Yet it can easily become overwhelming. These resources, tailored specifically to our own age demographic, writing style preference, and theological affiliation of choice, are available quickly and from any number of places. And, in the midst of it all, it can be easy to wonder if our own message has any worth at all.

Keep reading at the YALT Momentum blog.

The Singles in Your Sanctuary (From the YALT Blog)

I’m a monthly contributor for the blog of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT), which is a ministry of the denomination I’ve grown up in and still consider myself, though perhaps somewhat loosely, a part of. My latest post there is some further thoughts on singleness and Church. I know, I keep writing about it, but I keep writing because I think it matters. Here’s the first bit, and I hope you keep reading over here.

 

The Singles in Your Sanctuary

In my last post in this space, I presented the results of a survey about single pastors in the church. While my survey focused on pastors, it became apparent that a scarcity of single church leaders is only the beginning of the problem. Based on my own experience, conversations with others, and reading about the experience of many other single people, it is not uncommon for single people to feel marginalized in the Church. As I wrote last time, many churches focus heavily on marriage and families, which can result in not understanding how to embrace singles and their good, but different, experiences.

I think the topic of how churches enfold singles into the community is of particular importance for the Church right now. It has been widely documented that Millennials are getting married later than previous generations did, and also that they are less likely to continue or to begin involvement in a church. As more Millennials remain single for longer periods of time, the Church must be willing to meet these people where they are at and to intentionally seek to be an environment where all people are valued for who they are and not because of their relationship status.

Keep reading at the YALT Momentum blog.

All the Single Pastors? (From the YALT Blog)

I’m a monthly contributor for the blog of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT), which is a ministry of the denomination I’ve grown up in and still consider myself, though perhaps somewhat loosely, a part of. This post, even more than most of mine, is one I feel strongly aboutYou might even say I get a little bit feisty when I talk about it. Because I think it matters. Here’s the first bit, and I hope you keep reading over here.

 

All the Single Pastors?

As a single person, I find that church can sometimes be an isolating place. Many churches seem to be naturally oriented towards caring for families and married people, and although I don’t think any church would intentionally exclude single people, they may unintentionally do so.

The more I thought about this, it occurred to me that If I were to make a list of the single pastors I know of, it would be quite a short one. Wondering if it was maybe just my own experience, I recently did an informal survey asking people a few questions about single pastors in the church. The results of my survey turned out to match my own experience quite closely. Less than 10 percent of people who replied have attended a church where a single (non-married, non-engaged) person was the primary preaching pastor. Just less than half (45.9%) have attended a church with a single person serving as another type of pastor.

Keep reading at the YALT Momentum blog.

How to Make Friends at Church (From the YALT Blog)

A few weeks ago, someone sent me a direct message on Twitter, asking if I wanted to become a contributor for the blog of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT), which is a ministry of the denomination I’ve grown up in and still consider myself, though perhaps somewhat loosely, a part of. I’d read posts there, and decided it seem a fine lot to join forces with–so here we are. This is the first of what will be monthly posts from me over there.

 

Making friends is pretty easy when we’re children. We find a few commonalities, such as liking to play in the sandbox or having the same favorite TV show, and away we go. As we get older, it becomes a bit more complex, but often we continue to have the common ground of the same school or at least the shared experience of being a student.

Things get trickier when we reach young adulthood. Some people may be working full time, while others are in grad school. Some may be married with children, living in a house they own, while others may be single and living with parents or roommates. And, in the Church, these differences often become even more pronounced. Some people walk in the door and head straight to the nursery or children’s worship rooms, while others head for the coffee cart or sanctuary. Most of us have probably had conversations where, once we get past our names, what we do, and maybe where we live, conversation seems to lag. With each change of life stage, from single to married and from married to married with kids, the gap seems to widen…and suddenly, greeting time before or after church becomes segmented and kind of awkward.

Keep reading…

Til next time…

~Brianna!~